Made for each other: Wine pairings and more seafood soup recipes

By Kris Wetherbee
November 18, 2005
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Michael Weiss, professor of wine studies in the Table Serviceprogram at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NewYork, helps students appreciate different types of wine and spiritsand their role in restaurants. Michael has 20-plus years offood-based experience, and he coauthored ExploringWine: The Culinary Institute of America's Complete Guide to Winesof the World(Wiley, 2001). Michael pairs wines with our soothing wintersoups.

Halibut, Sweet Potato, and Leek Soup
"Moshofilero [$15], by Boutari, is floral and has scents oftropical fruits. Although this is a dry wine, its fruitinesspartners well with the natural sweetness of the ingredients. VinhoVerde [$8], by Quinta da Aveleda, is another low-alcohol choicewith refreshing acidity and a light body."

Smoky Salmon-Clam Chowder
"I suggest a dry sparkling Brut from Iron Horse [$28]. Thebubbles will cleanse the palate and highlight the flavors of thesoup. A dry sherry, Manzanilla La Gitana [$10], from BodegasHidalgo, has the briny flavors to match those of the seafood. Bothwines have enough texture to equal the richness of the soup."

Hearty Cioppino
"Caution! High-tannin reds combined with the healthy oils inseafood can cause an unpleasant taste―quite metallic. Light-to medium-body reds such as the Benziger Pinot Noir [$13], have thered fruit and acidity to complement those flavors in the tomatoes.A Moulin-à-Vent Beaujolais [$9], by Jadot, is a Gamay-basedwine that will also balance out this hearty soup, and complementthe zucchini and earthy spices."

Seafood-Sausage Gumbo
"The roux and spice of gumbos may conflict with the reds andoverwhelm whites. Try a Spanish dry Rosé, such as Fuente DelConde Tempranillo [$10], from Bodegas González Lara, or aRosé Brut such as the Cristallino [$9] from Spain. If youcan't find these wines and prefer those with a little sweetness tocontrast the heat, try any California white Zinfandel."

Crab-Coconut Soup
"Organic-grown Lolonis Fumé Blanc [$13] uses the highacidity of the Sauvignon Blanc to complement the lemon grass in thedish and to cleanse the palate from its richness. Another cleansingwine with a spritzy quality is the Gavi Perlante [$18]. Loweralcohol content makes it a nice choice for dining alfresco."

Creamy Asparagus Soup with Lobster
"The implicit sweetness of the lobster and mineral flavors ofthe dish will be complemented by a Cave Spring Riesling or aRiesling from Dr. Frank [both about $15]. These delicate,cool-climate wines have high acidity to cleanse the palate. Youcould try another tactic by pairing rich and complex Chardonnays byCakebread Cellars [$30] or Shafer [$40], to balance therichness."

Seafood-Sausage Gumbo
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into ½-inch slices
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups fish or chicken broth
2 cups sliced fresh okra
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (14 ½-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 pounds unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
1 pound fresh crabmeat, drained
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Hot cooked rice
Hot sauce (optional)

Cook sausage in a large Dutch oven over medium heat untilbrowned. Remove sausage; reserve drippings in pan, and set sausageaside. Add oil to pan, and gradually whisk in flour. Cook overmedium heat, whisking constantly, until roux is the color of peanutbutter (about 20 minutes). Stir in onion and next 4 ingredients;cook 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirringoften. Gradually stir in broth. Stir in browned sausage, okra, andnext 7 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer45 minutes. Uncover and simmer 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel shrimp,and devein, if desired. Add shrimp, crabmeat, and parsley to pan.Cook 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Serve over rice with hotsauce, if desired. Makes 18 cups.

Crab-Coconut Soup
Look for rice-flour noodles in Asian markets or in theAsian-foods section of your grocery store.
4 cups chicken broth
1 lemon grass stem, split lengthwise
3 ounces rice-flour noodles
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 (14-ounce) cans light coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1½ pounds cooked, flaked lump crabmeat
1 (14-ounce) can whole baby corn, drained (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
½ cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add lemon grass;cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove and discard lemongrass. Meanwhile, boil rice-flour noodles until tender; cut into 1-to 2-inch pieces, and set aside. Add garlic and next 5 ingredientsto chicken broth; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in rice-flour noodles,crabmeat, baby corn, if desired, and chives. Cook over medium heatjust until thoroughly heated. Ladle soup into individual servingbowls, and sprinkle with peanuts. Makes 6 servings.